“Patience, n. A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue”. Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)
It has almost become an annual right of spring – hundreds of beleaguered pesto lovers traipsing back to their local garden centres in search of yet another Basil to replace the one that just rotted off in the rain. In fact, Ocimum basilicum is turning out to be one of my best sellers this year and there are so many people returning for their second, third or fourth plant, that I started welcoming them to the ‘Dead Basil Club’. Somehow, it makes them feel better just knowing that others too have failed with their beloved Genovese, Spicy Thai or Lemon basil – or maybe it’s just a simple case of misery loving company. Truth be told, there are a lot of rose-coloured glasses being worn by Vancouver gardeners each spring, as this season often makes an early appearance in the latter part of February, takes a two to three month vacation and then shows up fashionably late sometime in June – leaving us few culinary options but expensive cellophane packages of limp leaves or those dried green flakes in the bulk food section, which are too much at any price.
Patience, they say, is a virtue, but here on Canada’s wet coast we’d much rather be a member in good standing with the ‘Dead Basil Club’ than admit that our favourite herb is still months away from being fresh-picked from our gardens.